The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of issue questions. Read all of them here.
Liz Vazquez | District: 3 | Age: 70 | Occupation: Attorney | lizvazquez.us
What is a short summary of your background?
I have lived in Anchorage for more than 38 years (24 years in West Anchorage) and have been involved in the community. Our daughter was born and raised in Anchorage. I served on the following: Anchorage city and school district budget advisory commissions, Chugach Electric Association board of directors. I served one term in the Legislature as a freshman and had two bills passed to benefit the community. I served as a prosecutor, administrative law judge and Assistant Attorney General.
Why are you running?
To improve Assembly accountability, transparency and civility. In addition, our local economy, infrastructure and schools need improvement.
What makes you qualified to serve on the Anchorage Assembly?
I have extensive experience to include serving on several city commissions that have dealt with policy and budgetary issues. I have served on the Anchorage budget advisory commission and school district budget advisory commissions. In addition, I have knowledge of the energy sector because I served on the Chugach Electric Association. Because I served in the Alaska state Legislature, I know how how the Legislature works and how to implement that knowledge to assist the city of Anchorage. In addition, because of my previous employment, I am knowledgeable how the state and federal government function.
What is the most important problem facing Anchorage? How would you address it?
With the rate of inflation and present poor economy, ensuring that the people of Anchorage receive the best value for monies they provide to the city. In addition, rebuilding the Port of Alaska so that the city and state does not suffer an economic disaster. This will require the following: Aggressively obtaining state and federal assistance to address the Port of Alaska; holding the line on taxes and not imposing new taxes will be critical to improve the economy of the city. Public safety is very important and is critical to the well-being of the community.
What is the most important problem facing your district? How would you address it?
Several development projects and the need to balance the needs of the residents and with the needs of commercial enterprises seeking to develop projects in West Anchorage. In addition, improving the local economy and public safety is critical to the well being of the district.
What is your vision of the role of local government in Anchorage?
For the Assembly to encourage and support the following: economic prosperity to include good jobs, good infrastructure and good educational results for our children. In addition, the Assembly needs to be transparent, accountable and be civil and polite with each other and the public.
Rate Dave Bronson’s performance as mayor. Explain, with specific examples.
Mayor Dave Bronson is trying to work with the Assembly on homelessness issues and there is progress in this area. However, in many instances, the Assembly blocks the initiatives of the mayor and does not want to work with the mayor.
Rate the performance of the current Assembly. Explain, with specific examples.
Poor. No civility with each other and members of the public. No transparency and accountability. Misspending federal funds. In addition, the Assembly continues to increase the city budget and taxes while at the same time not getting better results from the monies spent.
What’s your vision for improving and diversifying Anchorage’s economy?
Stopping the arbitrary shutdown of small businesses, improving infrastructure, encouraging the creation of businesses. Improve school results so that there is a workforce capable of doing the jobs that are needed and created in economic prosperity.
What do you see as the most effective strategies to address homelessness in Anchorage going forward?
Providing housing is a start, but there needs more focus on mental health treatment. Partnering more aggressively with the Alaska Mental Health Trust that provides funding to deal with mental health issues.
What’s your assessment of Anchorage’s transportation infrastructure? How would you improve it?
Anchorage transportation needs improvement. An audit of the public bus system should be conducted to identify better the needs of the community. In addition, the condition of roads need improvement.
Does the city do a good job of running municipal elections? Would you push for changes? Explain.
No, many citizens in Anchorage question the integrity and validity of elections. An audit is needed to identify areas that can be improved to provide more confidence in the electoral process.
The past two years have been marked by increased civic discord in Anchorage. How would you improve the quality of civic discourse in the city?
The Assembly needs to be civil to each other and the public. In addition, the Assembly needs to be transparent, accountable and listen to the community.
Do you acknowledge the results of the 2020 presidential election? Also, what are your thoughts on what took place on Jan. 6, 2021 in the U.S. Capitol?
This question is not relevant and should not be part of this survey.
What’s one thing that makes you hopeful about Anchorage’s future?
Members of the community want to be more involved in their local government.
What other important issue would you like to discuss?
The city of Anchorage website needs improvement and provide more transparency. The Assembly needs to provide more information to the residents of Anchorage